As I looked down at the gorgeous ring on my hand, I thought to myself, “Okay, so we’re planning a wedding”! Should be easy, right? I mean, I go to a wedding practically every weekend, all I have to do is start picking up the phone and making phone calls. Turns out that you can’t really do much without a date and a location.

Picking a date has probably been the most stressful part of the planning process thus far. Jeff and I knew two things in selecting the date: 1. That we wanted the wedding to be this year and 2. That it would be on a weekday since several of the people in the wedding party have weddings on the weekends.

As a photographer, it was important to me to have the wedding before the time change happened, so we would have sunlight as late as possible towards the end of the year. Also as a photographer, I have already been booked for quite a few dates in the fall, so the wedding would have to be on a date where I had a few days before and at least a week after completely free so we wouldn’t have to postpone a honeymoon. After much debate, changes, and back and forth, we finally figured it out, and couldn’t be more excited. But I’m not going to tell you what it is in case it changes again 🙂

Some fun facts about the big day thus far:

1. It will be a fairly small wedding. If I had my way, we’d have 50 people, but as of now, the target is 75.
2. I have always made fun of people with big wedding parties, and Jeff and I both have 8 attendants. They will not be dressed alike.
3. The whole concept for the wedding takes its inspiration from the shoes we bought for Jeff. I’m not kidding–every detail relates back to his shoes.
4. I bought my wedding dress two days after getting engaged. It was the first dress I tried on and it is perfect.
5. I hate the garter tradition and would rather die than have an item of my clothing removed in front of my friends and family.

The part of the wedding process that I enjoy is picking colors, and things like that. Not so much on boring things like logistics, rentals, blah blah blah. However, as any real estate agent worth their salt will tell you, it’s all about LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. So once we chose the date, we began working on where to have the wedding.

Staying in Orange County wasn’t really ideal to either of us, so we started dreaming big. I really wanted to have it in Switzerland, where I have family. Wouldn’t that have been amazing? It totally would have been, just look:


Then we quickly got the smackdown from all our family and most of our friends (but not all), who thought it was too far, too expensive, and too cold at the end of the year.

Ok then.

So we started dreaming smaller, or at least closer to home. We though that a Napa wedding would be awesome, and I’ve always wanted to get married there. However, it’s still far (we would have to fly there), so we looked at Santa Barbara/Ojai first. That was where we found our dream location:


Since we had ruled out Napa, we figured it was the best possible location, if we weren’t going to do some beautiful field/meadow/winery with amazing light from sun up to sun down.

Then we discovered St. Helena. We got an email from Briana right as we were getting ready to send back the contract for the first place, encouraging us to come at least take a look at her parents’ 150 acre Napa/St. Helena property. When we heard the description, we looked at each other, and figuring that since she actually read our minds and knew what we were looking for, that we should take a trip up. So the next day we hopped on a plane and cruised out. And that’s how we found our wedding location:

This is the view from the cottage where I will get ready. The ceremony is the open meadow beyond the fence in the background. The reception will be outside too, in the meadow all the way to the right (you can’t see it from this photo):


The cocktail hour will take place under this tree:


There’s also quite a bit of vineyard acreage on the property where we will do photos afterwards. It was noon when we were there, but picture it in great light and with the vines completely filled in at that time of year:


And there you have it! If you would like more information about this INCREDIBLE property, send an email to BRIANA the wedding venue goddess

I’ll share more as more things happen!